Steel workers union Community has attacked Corus for not being honest about bids it may be receiving for its troubled Teesside Cast Products plant.
According to the Middlesborough Evening Gazette, Thai steel firm Sahaviriya Steel Industries (SSI) submitted a bid for the plant in Autumn 2009 and visited the plant last week. The paper claims that the offer was made at least two months before Corus announced it was mothballing the plant in December. At the time, 1,700 workers lost their jobs.
Any bidders are bound by commercial confidentiality and it is up to Corus to confirm any officially submitted bids.
Responding to the revelations, Community general secretary Micheal Leahy said he has already contacted business secretary Lord Mandelson and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to encourage Corus to “come clean on the alleged TCP takeover bid.”
He added: “It looks more and more like Corus aren’t being straight with the TCP workforce and the people of Teesside about whether they have received a bid from SSI or any other party to purchase TCP and preserve steelmaking and thousands of jobs in the wider community.
“Two weeks ago Kirby Adams, Corus chief executive, in the presence of senior Corus executives, told Community, in answer to a direct question, that there were ‘discussions, but that there had been no firm offers’ for TCP. Now we hear that SSI may have had a bid on the table when he gave his answer. Subsequently he refused to give a written assurance that Corus had notreceived a bid. Just what is going on?”
In other media reports a Corus spokesperson has commented: “As we have made clear many times, Corus continues to engage with potential investors and to be open to offers for TCP.
“The process involves due diligence being done, which routinely involves facility visits, all under conditions of confidentiality.
“Any attempt to undermine this confidentiality in the mistaken view that it might help the process, is on the contrary highly irresponsible and damaging to both the process the company is conducting and the confidence of potential investors.”